The tactician spoke after a fantastic performance by the team against all odds.

Odisha FC finally managed to win their first game of the Indian Super League 2020-21 season, at the expense of Kerala Blasters. The Juggernauts rolled over their opposition by a scoreline of 2-4 in an electric game, which had sensational attacking football on display. Stuart Baxter, whose job was most likely on the line before the game, was visibly delighted with his men. Speaking after the conclusion of the match during the media interaction, the tactician elaborated on several important points.

Thoughts on game

The Englishman seemed very elated and praised the players during his analysis of the game. He said, “Very pleased for the players. These players have been excellent and they have never folded.”

“So, for me, this was not a surprise. We changed the way we were going to play, we had Jacob (Tratt) at right-back. We had Daniel (Lalhimpuia) having to immediately get in before kick-off because Manu (Manuel Onwu) had a little bit of a stretch. There was so much that could go wrong and yet, I think it was an awesome performance,” he further expressed.

Team played to its potential?

The coach also talked about his team finally playing to their full potential. In this context, he said, “I think we have always shown that potential. All the way upto East Bengal, I thought we played well for long periods of time. But, unfortunately again, we gave away silly goals. I think we have been showing glimpses of it.”

WATCH: Stuart Baxter speaks at the post-match press conference

Possibility of result changing fortunes?

The victory was long-time coming for the outfit, who were gradually improving over the last few fixtures. Speaking about the possibility of this result leading to more points in the future, Stuart Baxter stated, “I certainly hope so. This will be the challenge these players have got, that this is a bit of a catalyst to go on a better run.”

A feeling of confidence

The 67-year-old was also asked about the confidence he displayed prior to the game. He justified his outlook by saying, “I just think that the squad has been on a positive spiral. I think we have been playing better and better. I think if you look at some of the football we played against East Bengal, it was very good.

“Some of our combination play, some of our possession in midfield, transitions, they are getting better. So, I felt that for a while now. I was really upset about giving away two goals in the first half against East Bengal. The players got to hear that as well along with the accolades when they do well. I just had a feeling we were going to be very competitive tonight,” he further went on to add. 

Update on Manuel Onwu’s injury

Manuel Onwu seemingly picked up an injury during the warm-up. Giving an update on the extent of his injury, the tactician said, “Manu’s been playing the last few games with a very tight hamstring. Not damaged, not torn, not even strained, it’s very tight. That’s why in a few of the games, we had to take him out in the last 10-15 minutes as a precaution. He trained fully yesterday, we thought he could play tonight, but obviously this one was going to be too much for him.”

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